Whales play around New Zealand coast 14 Jul 2011
- PM to attend the Cricket World Cup Final News
- A Black Caps Fan Guide to Melbourne Living
- Injunction: Kennedy, Bell v Boyle, St Bede's College News
- Auckland to Beijing direct as Air NZ, China Air tie up Business
- Auckland Airport international passenger numbers rise 5.4% Business
- Tourism Holdings acquires 49% stake in UK's Just Go Business
- Better air services with Viet Nam to come News
- Retail and accommodation boost economic growth News
- NZ urged to go the extra mile to attract halal tourists News
- PM to attend Gallipoli Anzac Day commemorations News
Whale watching is a year-round pastime in New Zealand but come winter, the popular activity takes on a more serious role, and this year a busy migration period is providing valuable data as well as entertainment.
New Zealand is known as the marine mammal capital of the world and with 15,134 kilometres of coastline there are numerous opportunities to spot mammals especially during their winter migration.
Two main species track through New Zealand at this time of the year - humpback and southern right whales.
Cook Strait survey
An official Department of Conservation (DOC) survey in Cook Strait, between the North and South islands, has shown a record number of humpback whales passing through the area this year.
Survey leader Nadine Bott said 62 humpbacks had been spotted by the team of ex-whalers, just three weeks into the survey compared to 47 for the entire survey period last year.
The 2011 survey, which began on 11 June, finished on Saturday (9.07.2011) July.
The annual poll assesses recovery in humpback whale numbers since commercial whaling ended in New Zealand in 1963. In 2005, only 18 humpbacks were recorded, and Bott says this year’s numbers are very encouraging.
Tourism operators like Black Cat Cruises at Aakaroa, in Canterbury, have also reported increased sightings of humpbacks, which pass the company’s Banks Peninsula doorstep on their way north from the Southern Ocean.
The company says humpbacks were seen off the Akaroa heads three times in just one week delighting tourists including a group of 16 North American travel agents.
Banks Peninsula is on the direct route for Southern Ocean humpbacks as they migrate thousands of kilometres between low latitude winter breeding and calving grounds in Antarctica and sub-tropical waters of western and eastern Australia and Fiji.
Relaxed and playful
The humpback whales are well known for their spectacular breaching and beautiful complex songs and many spotted in the Akaroa Harbour have been relaxed and playful, apparently happy to be amongst the local natives - including Hector’s dolphins, the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world.
Nadine Bott said humpbacks seen in Cook Strait also appeared relaxed and playful. The whales had come in closer to shore than normal and were happy to rest and linger - more so than other years.
Clear weather and calm sea conditions had made it easier to spot whales this season and photos provided would be particularly valuable for research.
Southern right whales
The Department of Conservation has put out its annual call for members of the public to photograph and report any sightings of southern right whales, which are normally prevalent at this time of the year, and can be easily spotted because they come close to shore.
Photographs are a less invasive, less expensive way to provide information which helps with identifying whales and monitoring their patterns of movement.
Auckland and Otago universities are investigating how southern right whales move around New Zealand.
DOC says the most useful part of the southern right whale to photograph are the callosities - yellowish, raised rough patches of tissue on the head. Each whale has a unique pattern of callosities that only change very slightly over time.
Laura Boren, DOC’s national mammal co-ordinator says there have been fewer sightings of southern right whales in New Zealand waters this year, which is strange after high numbers during the 2010 migration season.
The reasons could be to do with unseasonal weather and the whales staying off-shore, but further answers could come to light after a New Zealand research team completes a study in the Auckland Islands over winter, says Boren.
The southern right whale migration season runs from May through to October each year. So far there have been sightings off Ruapuke Island and Dog Islands in Southland, and in Whareongaonga, south of Young Nick's Head on the western tip of the North Island East Coast region.
(100% Pure New Zealand)
26 Mar 2015 News
Legislation modernising rules applying to Royal succession to the throne came into force today in New Zealand and in the 16 Realms... more
27 Mar 2015 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk NZ milk powder futures drop as Fonterra lifts GDT volumes, signalling prices will fall By Tina ... more
26 Mar 2015 Business News
NZ commercial property lending less risky now due to lower debt funding March 26 (BusinessDesk) - The Reserve Bank said New... more
13 Mar 2015 Lifestyle
Fusing light, music, mobile and one of Auckland’s most recognisable landmarks together – 2degrees launched another Kiwi... more
12 Mar 2015 Property
NZ house prices rise 3.6% in February, led by a 14% jump in Auckland prices March 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential... more
2 Mar 2015 Migration
Prime Minister John Key says he is not aware of any suspected war criminals from the former Yugoslavia in New Zealand. The claim that... more
17 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is welcoming a move by the rental vehicle industry to establish a Code of Best Practice to... more
6 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Sustainable workforce solutions were at the centre of discussions between Government Ministers and tourism industry representatives... more
ICC World Cup 2015: Sunday doesn’t guarantee success but it gives the greatest chance, says McCullum
28 Mar 2015 Cricket
Q. Who won the real battle of big brother against little brother?BRENDON McCULLUM: I think he won, but I definitely had some mad... more
28 Mar 2015 Cricket
The International Cricket Council today announced the match official appointments for the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015,... more
28 Mar 2015 Opinion
Former New Zealand captain says the team will be focusing on enjoying themselves, knowing they are part of something that will be the... more
27 Mar 2015 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on a funeral in Asia, the Northland by-election, and news priorities Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny... more
18 Mar 2015 Appointments
Tower names Seniors Money's Brett Wilson as CFO, replacing Boggs March 18 (BusinessDesk) - Tower, the listed general insurer,... more
6 Mar 2015 People
Glassjar, the kiwi software start-up whose app provides people an easy way of sharing bills, has launched in the United States. The... more
26 Mar 2015 Recruitment
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of measures to strengthen enforcement of minimum... more
20 Mar 2015 Recruitment
RESEND: Warehouse says 63% of permanent staff now on 'career retailer wage' (Fixes fourth paragraph to show Warehouse is... more